Social networking the pros and cons

There are both positive and negative effects for a child who often uses social networking sites, it has been suggested. In a presentation given at the 119th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Larry Rosen, Professor of Psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills explained the benefits and drawbacks of sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Entitled Poke Me: How Social Networks Can Both Help and Harm Our Kids, Professor Rosen noted young people who use the portals - which have millions of users around the world - have more narcissistic tendencies, while daily overuse of the web pages can make kids more prone to anxiety and depression.

However, it was also claimed social networks encourages virtual empathy among friends and can teach them how to improve their social skills.

Professor Rosen advised parents: "You have to start talking about appropriate technology use early and often and build trust, so that when there is a problem ... your child will talk to you about it."

You may be interested to read a related article about social media and social unrest which includes a comment from Chartered Psychologist Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University.

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